The Portland Thorns announced the transfer of right back Ellie Carpenter to French giants Olympique Lyonnais, for an undisclosed amount on Wednesday.
“The Thorns have played an extremely important role in helping me grow and develop as a player over the past two years,” Carpenter said, “and I am grateful to everyone who invested in me during my time in Portland.”
Carpenter arrived in Portland just after her 18th birthday in 2018. She made an instant impact playing in 17 games and starting in 14. The right back became the youngest ever player to debut in the NWSL. She also became the youngest goalscorer in NWSL history tapping home the game-winner against the Washington Spirit in the same year.
In 2019, the Thorns kept eight clean sheets and Carpenter started 14 of the 16 matches throughout the season.
“And to the fans in Portland, thank you for all your support, for embracing me and allowing me the opportunity to play in front of the best fans in the world, day in and day out, it was a very special experience.”
Carpenter is joining France and Europe’s most dominant team. Lyon is the most successful team in France winning 14 consecutive league titles and 17 overall. They are also the four-time reigning champions of Europe with a record six titles in total.
Lyon will have a chance to make it five in a row. UEFA announced Wednesday that the UEFA Women’s Champions League will take place in Bilbao and San Sebastian, Spain.
Carpenter will have stiff competition at Lyon where the current right back is England international and the World Cup 2019 Silver Ball winner, Lucy Bronze.
The Thorns will have to adjust accordingly with the absence of Carpenter. The team has multiple options including Katherine Reynolds, Christen Westphal and Kelli Hubly, but we will have to wait and see how coach Mark Parsons will construct his backline.
The Thorns will start the NWSL Challenge Cup against reigning champions North Carolina Courage on June 27 and Lyon will resume its quest for Champions League glory on either August 21 or 22 against Bayern Munich.